The AERONET (AErosol RObotic NETwork) program is a federation of ground-based remote sensing aerosol networks established by NASA and PHOTONS (PHOtométrie pour le Traitement Opérationnel de Normalisation Satellitaire; Univ. of Lille 1, CNES, and CNRS-INSU) and is greatly expanded by networks (e.g., RIMA, AeroSpan, AEROCAN, and CARSNET) and collaborators from national agencies, institutes, universities, individual scientists, and partners. The program provides a long-term, continuous and readily accessible public domain database of aerosol optical, microphysical and radiative properties for aerosol research and characterization, validation of satellite retrievals, and synergism with other databases. The network imposes standardization of instruments, calibration, processing and distribution.
AERONET collaboration provides globally distributed observations of spectral aerosol optical depth (AOD), inversion products, and precipitable water in diverse aerosol regimes. Aerosol optical depth data are computed for three data quality levels: Level 1.0 (unscreened), Level 1.5 (cloud-screened), and Level 2.0 (cloud-screened and quality-assured). Inversions, precipitable water, and other AOD-dependent products are derived from these levels and may implement additional quality checks.
The processing algorithms have evolved from Version 1 to Version 2.0 (fully released in July 2006) and are available from the AERONET and PHOTONS web sites. Version 1 data may be downloaded from the web site through 2006 and thereafter upon special request. New AERONET products will be released as new measurement techniques and algorithms are adopted and validated by the AERONET research community. The AERONET web site also provides AERONET-related news, a description of research and operational activities, related Earth Science links, and an AERONET staff directory.
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